All breeds of farm animals require a suitable pasture area
for feeding and exercise. The pasture must have adequate shade-in
hot weather farm animals are inactive during mid-day, preferring
to relax in a cool, shaded area. Pasture areas need to meet
the individual animal's needs. Ducks, geese, and pigs need
water for bathing and cooling. Sheep and cattle prefer grassy
flat pastures, while goats like plenty of brush and hills.
BUILDING PLANS & PASTURE SERVICES
Each county has a "County Agriculture Extension Agent"
- a government official who's job is to help people like you
with their agricultural information/service needs. Your Ag
agent can provide free or low-cost building plans, assist
you with pasture/plant questions, or give you a list of hay/straw
dealers in your area. Your Ag agent is located in your local
phone directory - check the Government pages for County listings.
Feed - Chicken feed can be purchased at most farm
supply stores. Commercial chicken feed is designed to promote
fast growth and/or increase egg production, which is very
harmful for an animal that is already bred to be abnormally
large or lay unnatural quantities of eggs. Our recommendation
is to mix your own feed, using a mixture of equal parts of
whole corn, oats and sunflower seeds, with a dash of grit
(necessary for digestion). The addition of sunflower seeds
to the diet is very important, as it is a chicken's main source
of calcium and is necessary for the formation of the eggshell.
Non-medicated chicken scratch is also available at most farm
feed supply stores, and you can easily add sunflowers to it
for a complete feed. Chickens generally self-regulate their
food intake; however, if you notice that your chicken is exceeding
his/her normal weight, especially in "meat-type"
breeds, restrict the amount of feed per day. Greens supply
up to 25% of the nutritional needs of your chicken. In addition
to fresh pasture, alfalfa, grain sprouts, lettuce, cabbage,
and Swiss chard are fine greens for your chicken.